Emily, lung cancer survivor

“Cancer hit ‘pause’ on my life. But with the support of mentors, family and friends, we are finally able to hit ‘play’ again.”

A former college athlete who has led a healthy lifestyle and never smoked, 28-year-old Emily Taylor was getting ready to celebrate her second anniversary with her college sweetheart when she discovered she had Stage 4 lung cancer.

Upon her diagnosis, she promptly began treatment at City of Hope and vowed from Day 1 that she would do whatever it took to survive, especially to two years of clean scans of showing No Evidence of Disease (NED), a significant milestone for lung cancer survivors and a positive indicator of long-term outcomes.

Taylor underwent a rigorous treatment regimen at City of Hope to fight her cancer, including surgery to remove her right lung, radiation and eight rounds of chemotherapy. Since starting a family was a priority for Taylor and her husband, Miles, they preserved nine embryos before cancer therapy.

During treatment — led by Karen Reckamp, M.D., co-director the lung cancer program — Taylor bravely withstood the intense therapies and their effects, but she was concerned about the disease’s effect on her family, friends and loved ones — including Miles.

“I once asked Miles to just relax and breathe easy, and he told me he’ll breathe normally when I’m two years NED . . . so I internalized his comment and earmarked that two-year date.”

That day came. “I broke down. I sobbed. I fell into Miles and cried. I let years of frustration and fear out of me,” Taylor said. “He held me and then whispered in my ear, ‘You’re going to be a mommy.’ And I cried even more, but with the biggest smile on my face.”

As of May 2017, Taylor is “four years NED.”